ALLIANCE ACTION ALERT: HB1633 Prisoners and Self-Inflicted Injuries
HB1633: “Counties and county officers; stating who is primarily responsible for medical care costs for self-inflicted injuries and preexisting conditions…”
❗ Ask your state senator to vote NO on HB1633.
The Alliance of Mental Health Providers of Oklahoma opposes HB1633, which would make county jails no longer responsible for “payment of the cost of medical care provided to the person for any self-inflicted injury sustained while in the custody of the county jail…”
Although your state senator may not serve on the Public Safety Committee you can call and let him or her know your position or you can try contacting a member of the Committee. Links to their contact information is posted below.
🔪 5 Reasons HB1633 is Bad
- SETS UP the State for a costly lawsuit. Under the Constitution, when the county has custody of a person, the county is responsible for the medical care of that person. Failure to provide necessary medical care is a violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
- STIGMATIZES mental illness.
- STIMULATES arguments about what is and isn’t self-harm. (Very messy.)
- SHIFTS cost to ratepayers and increases the cost of insurance.
- HARMS Oklahoma hospitals.
🔬 Little is known about the data behind HB 1633.
☎️ Call your state senator before 2 p.m. today.
Members of the Public Safety Committee include:
- Senator Lonnie Paxton, Chair (District 23)
- Senator Darrell Weaver, Vice-Chair (District 24)
- Senator Mark Allen (District 4)
- Senator Michael Bergstrom (District 1)
- Senator Michael Brooks (District 44)
- Senator Bill Coleman (District 10)
- Senator Nathan Dham (District 33)
- Senator Darcy Jech (District 26)
- Senator Kevin Matthews (District 11)
- Senator Dave Rader (District 39)
- Senator Cody Rogers (District 37)
Please ask your state senator to vote NO on HB1633 before 2 p.m. today, Monday, April 5. The Alliance of Mental Health Providers of Oklahoma opposes HB1633, which would make county jails no longer responsible for “payment of the cost of medical care provided to the person for any self-inflicted injury sustained while in the custody of the county jail…”
Detailed Overview of HB1633
HB 1633 aims to lay the cost of county jail inmate medical care for pre-existing conditions and self-inflicted injuries onto Oklahoma hospitals. Assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee, HB 1633 is being promoted as a bill to relieve taxpayers of a burden, however, there are several ways in which it is fiscally more damaging for Oklahomans.
HB 1633 sets up the state for a costly lawsuit.
- Under the Constitution, when the county has custody of a person, the county is responsible for the medical care of that person. Failure provide necessary medical care is a violation of the 8th
Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
- HB 1633 sets the state up for another lawsuit that can’t withstand muster.
- The cost of a potential lawsuit would likely be more of an expense to the taxpayers than the issue of inmate care for self-inflicted injuries and pre-existing conditions.
HB 1633 is unnecessary, as some Oklahoma counties are already refusing to pay these medical
- If this is already happening, then there is no need to have the state potentially take over the responsibility and potentially face a legal battle.
Little is known about the data or research behind HB 1633.
- No data has been presented about the current cost burden on the county and taxpayers of medical treatment for people who are incarcerated in Oklahoma, relating to self-inflicted injuries as well as pre-existing conditions.
- No data has been presented about the frequency of inmates purposefully being “OR’ed out.”
- No data has been presented about the “small minority” of people who get incarcerated in order to have the county pay for their pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease or cancer, as the bill author suggests is a problem in the state.
- Without having this information, putting together a study committee to explore the economic burden on the state, as well as to research additional solutions that may be more efficient or effective in resolving these issues. Determining the cause is critical to enacting a solution.
Shifts cost, doesn’t cut or cover cost.
- When the county no longer pays the medical costs, no one pays the medical costs. Most people currently in county jail are indigent. As the hospitals begin to bill this population, the costs will
ultimately end up unpaid and falling on the shoulders of rate-payers.
- As this cost shifts to insured Oklahomans, it continues to rise due to the accumulating expenses incurred by the additional business profits (i.e. overhead costs, costs of claims, etc.) built into the insurance costs.
HB 1633 harms hospitals.
- Small hospitals in rural areas who cannot afford to take on the additional cost burden shifted on to them, as a result of HB 1633, are likely to face unprecedented financial challenges, potentially
leading to closures further limiting access to care.